I was standing in the middle of Saigon’s steaming market, I could see the amazing sights and smells from live unidentifiable fish to fishmongers gutting and scaling a recently caught fish in front of my eyes. On my right was a lady selling Ban Mi and on my left was a man on a moto selling live frogs and a huge butchered snake. It is quite a spectacle.
The next day I found myself riding a boat in the Mekong River. There something quite refreshing about speeding down the Mekong River, passing through old fishing boats and watching fishermen cast their nets and ladies on the riverbanks wash their clothes while the kids happily play in the water.
The food on the trip was amazing – Pad Thai in Thailand, Cambodia’s milder dishes with a French twist and then Pho noodles in Vietnam with a little more kick. I loved all the food and tried everything I could even fried beetles in Khao San.
The moving and quite disturbing images of the Khmer Rouge regime in Cambodia and the Vietnam War are really stirring. Unspeakable horrors occurred and the visits remind us and make sure we never forget what happened. You cannot visit these places unless you see these things and realize the history that took place, however sad and upsetting.
These countries, economically speaking, are almost with no difference with where I came from, the Philippines, but the cultures in each are distinct. I think that’s one of the most inviting reasons about travelling in Asia. You can sulk yourself from one rich culture and amazing sights to another. Saigon to Bangkok gives a real flavour of Indochina and is a tour full of contrast – one day you’re with people wearing their national costume and a pointed hat in Vietnam and the next you’re watching a group of teenagers breakdancing in Khao San. One day you’re in the eerie temple in Siem Reap and the next you’re stuck in traffic in Thailand. There are a lot of contrasts between urban and rural life to discover and the tour was a fantastic opportunity to get a real taste of Cambodia, the Mekong Delta and its neighbouring countries.
SAIGON TO PHNOM PEHN
We took the 5:30am bus at Khai Nam Transport located at Chi Nhanh 155 – 163 Le Huong Phuong. It’s a fairly new bus that cost 8USD to Phonm Pehn. The bus would stop at the Moc Bai border. All passengers went down to have their passports stamped. In 6 hours we arrived in Phnom Pehn.
Bus Company Contact Details (HCM to PP)
Khai Nam Transportation
163 Le Honng Phong
Contact 08 38383399 or 0975801199
Schedules: 4:30AM, 5:30AM, 7:00AM, 9:00AM, 10:30AM, 12:00PM, 1:30PM and 3:00PM
PHNOM PENH TO SIEM REAP
Khai Nam’s address in Phnom Penh is at #56, St 286, Sangkat Toul Svay Prey 2, Khan Chamka Morn. They don’t have buses to Siem Reap but they have a sister company, Virak – Buntham Express and they can also book tickets for you. We left Phnom Pehn at 8:30pm on a 2-decker bus. By 2am we were already in Siem Reap. Ticket costs 9USD.
Bus Company Contact Details (Phnom Penh to Siem Reap)
Virak-Buntham Express Travel – located along the riverfront at the North of Phsa Chase or Night Market, St. 105
Contact: 016 786 270 / 099 628 448 / 089 99 8761 / 092 42 9505
SIEM REAP TO BANGKOK
We bought our bus ticket to Bangkok from Cambodia Backpackers Guesthouse where we stayed. We were picked up by the bus company’s tuk-tuk and brought to their terminal. All passengers were backpackers from different countries.
The bus ticket to Bangkok cost 10USD. We stopped at the Poipet border, walked a kilometre to Arayaprathet and lined up for almost 2 hours to have our passport stamped. There were a lot of foreigners and they only had 3 immigration windows. After having our passport stamped, a minibus took us to a small diner where we had our lunch while waiting for our van to Bangkok. The fees for these transfers were included in the 10USD bus fee. The journey from Siem Reap to Bangkok took 10 hours.